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Rare Bird Alert: January 27, 2017

Continuing ABA Area rarities include the long-staying Amazon Kingfisher (ABA Code 5) and the newly arrived Rose-throated Becard (3) in Texas. Arizona hosts three notewrothy birds, Nutting’s Flycatcher (5), Rose-throated Becard (3), and Streak-backed Oriole (4) into this week. Both the Bananaquit (4) and one Western Spindalis (3) remained in Florida. A Brambling (3) in Oregon has been present, but infrequently seen, and the Falcated Duck (4) in Washington stuck around at least into the beginning of the week. As always, many Pink-footed Geese (4) and Barnacle Geese (4) have been around as well.

Texas hosts a couple of new Middle American goodies this week, including a Golden-crowned Warbler (4) in  Refugio, potentially the same bird that was in the same site at this time last year. And a Blue Bunting was discovered in Hidalgo, as well.

We can report one potential 1st record this week, in British Columbia where a pair of Pink-footed Geese (4) have been seen among a flock of Canada Gees in Saanich. West coast records of this species are infrequent, and as yet none have been accepted. But given the marked increase in records in the east, those few on the other coast may deserve to be re-evaluated. These birds, at least, have been treated by local birders as likely natural vagrants.

More goose news from the west coast, this time in California where an Emperor Goose was found in San Mateo where it was seen by many birders.

Always notable away from the immediate coast, an adult Heermann’s Gull was present on Lake Meade in Clark, Nevada, this week.

Utah also had anunusual gull, a Mew Gull near Salt Lake City.

In South Dakota, a Varied Thrush was discovered near Pierre.

Michigan had a Western Meadowlark visiting a feeder near Chippewa.

In Kentucky, a Say’s Phoebe was photographed in Nelson.

Birders at the Space Coast Festival in Florida this week can take in a Common Eider in Brevard if they so choose.

In New York, the recent report of a young Ross’s Gull in Franklin, far in the upstate, is exciting.

Connecticut had a Tufted Duck (3) in Bridgeport.

And in Newfoundland, a Varied Thrush was photographed at a feeder in Renews.


Omissions and errors are not intended, but if you find any please message blog AT and I will try to fix them as soon as possible. This post is meant to be an account of the most recently reported birds. Continuing birds not mentioned are likely included in previous editions listed here. Place names written in italics refer to counties/parishes.

Readers should note that none of these reports has yet been vetted by a records committee. All birders are urged to submit documentation of rare sightings to the appropriate state or provincial committees. For full analysis of these and other bird observations, subscribe to North American Birds <>, the richly illustrated journal of ornithological record published by the ABA.

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
Nate Swick

Latest posts by Nate Swick (see all)

  • I was at Zacate Creek on Monday looking for the Amazon Kingfisher but was not able to locate it. I originally mis-ID’d a Green Kingfisher and posted it, but quickly took it down after speaking to the ebird moderator. She said they’ve had no sightings for about a week despite someone reporting a potential 2nd Amazon Kingfisher (different sex) the day before I went out but with no photo documentation. I ran into the birders that reported it the previous day, but at that point I was under the impression that I had photographed the Amazon or else we would’ve probably discussed and searched much more before departing.

  • Yve Nagy Morrell

    I was also at Zacate Creek and Las Palmas Trail on Saturday the 28th, all day. Saw male and female Green Kingfishers and a Ringed Kingfisher. No Amazon! I believe the last legitimate sighting was on the 17th. On a brighter note, I did see 3 White-collared Seedeaters.

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